Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Brilliant Beyond All Exceptions - 89%

dartz123, December 21st, 2018

"Thy metallic appetite shall be blessed by the mallet of the ever-abiding fires of Khemmis. Thou who stands in the metallic snobbery of thy Elitist Heresies, repent!" Well, that is how I feel when I see albums like this. This album has some interesting reception in the metal scene, and for one, I cannot understand for the life of me why this release is accused of having inconsistency between the vocals and its metallic blow of string and percussion. Khemmis's "Absolution" is a true gem, wait, let me rephrase that, it may be "the" Gem of the American doom metal community. Why? Let me lay this out:

First, the album cover is elegant and it has a vintage yet unconventional metallic appeal (tautological much?). Think about it, this is somewhere between a Japanese anime meets Asterix And Obelix throw-down, crafted by some perculiar ascetic in East. That's right, it has a eery and curious album cover but not in the same way I think we expect. Looks like Uncle Gandalf's appeal glares into the inner-Saruman of every metalhead. Well, you get what I mean.

Second, the strings are what one would expect from doom metal, albeit it comes with a sort of ambience. The overwhelming majority of doom metal projects rely on a fast-chug too easily, with the influence of quasi-death-doom appellations too often. Here you have the chug of the guitar crafted quite nicely, this is not to say that the guitars are not fast, but they pick speed as soon it captures one into the slow chug. Consider "Torn Asunder," when the combination of speed and slowish timing comes together. The combination of bass and guitar strings sets forth a metallic medley of pure musical excellence.

Third, most doom metal bands when they do give us something commendable like Black Sabbath's "Technical Ecstasy" and Candlemass's " Ancient Dreams", these bands however struggle to present us something which is purely doom metal (in both aesthetic and style), they are often court moving between melodic/heavy metal and doom metal, and it is hardly consistent. It is understandable, but somewhat inconsistent when one usually wants purely doom metal. Khemmis vouches for exact that, it's drumming is slow and cocky, with impeccable timing and just bleeds doom. "Ash, Cinder, Smoke" demonstrates this quite well.

Fourth, the vocals present doom metal properly, as one should find in modern doom metal, think about it, we expect the post-death grunts which one finds it. Yet it is not "death metal," as many doom metal bands do, it is consistent to the flavor.

Ultimately, this is a band which makes doom metal, a faithful doom metal album. Inject yourself with this majestic album, let the rain of blood anoint you as the warriors of the legion of Khemmis take you deeper into an epic world, where doom is in the very air you breath, a forthcoming aroma of poisonous fumes do we expect the band to be! The guile be with you!

A good debut though vocals don't suit band's style - 78%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, November 30th, 2016

The debut album from Denver band Khemmis (cool name!), which the guys released in 2015 on trusty doom label 20 Buck Spin, "Absolution" isn't quite my cup of coffee for various reasons so I'll try to be brief. Though if you follow my reviews, you know that being brief has always been far beyond my capability no matter how hard I try to rein in my blather. Khemmis deal in a style of heavy gritty doom sludge mixed with classic melodic rock riffs and tunes: plenty of lead guitar soloing is to be found throughout the album. Song lyrics have an apocalyptic edge to them and there are visions of an unyielding God enforcing His pitiless law on imperfect humans.

First track "Torn Asunder" is a lively and energetic song with jagged riffing and crunchy fuzz-guitar tones. From then on, the songs settle into a slower pace and it's from this point on that I have to admit the album has lost me. I'm not sure why every time I try listening to "Absolution", my enthusiasm starts to flag. I have to say the clean vocals, wherever they appear, seem very out of place in music that's heavy and grinding with riffs the size and weight of tombstones. At the same time, the more gruff and raspy voices, acting as counterpoint to the clean choirboy singing, are shouty and come off as pretentiously macho in a way not intended by the band. Sorry guys but that's how the singing, whether clean or harsh, comes across. There's a one-dimensional quality to both sets of vocals and for me it seems that the singing tries too hard to compete with the music and needs to concentrate more on bringing the emotion and vision out of the lyrics.

Apart from the gripes that I have with the vocals, the music hits a sweet spot between deep grinding concrete doom sludge miasma and a more melodic and commercially accessible hard rock style. Khemmis need to take care not to fill every moment of the album with epic melodic doom sludge bombast and some quiet passages of ambience or acoustic guitar music would help vary the music and maintain listener attention and interest. I'd suggest too that the band concentrate either on the clean heroic vocal style or the shouting rasp, or another style entirely - a deeper clean baritone might suit - and also look at playing more all-instrumental tracks with plenty of jamming and improvisation.

As it is, the album showcases a band with good technical skills and songwriting ability in abundance. I see no reason why Khemmis shouldn't go far with a few tweaks to their brand of doom sludge / melodic rock fusion.

Absolution is absolutely worthy - 90%

MisterSamhain, December 11th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, 20 Buck Spin (Bandcamp)

By now, some of you may have heard about Khemmis and their debut Absolution and how it is pretty much awesome. It is, those touting how good of a record this is are not wrong. What you have heard is true.

This album is worthy of the acclaim it has received from Decibel, coming in at No. 9 on their Top 40 Metal Albums of 2015 List. The album has a doomy bounce to it and they have even described themselves as a “doom metal Iron Maiden.” Absolution has catchy riffs that become infectious, such as on “Torn Asunder” and “Ash, Cinder, Smoke,” and with only six tracks that clock in at 42 minutes there is enough variation to not bore anyone. Phil’s vocals are some of the cleanest you’ll hear though Khemmis can still fit into the No Clean Singing category with Ben’s harsh sludge vocal back up and sidebars.

Dan and Zach round out the band on bass and drums. Dan’s heavy bass lines help us crush through the songs as does Zach’s drumming which is very complimentary of their style, I think his best drumming being on the final track, “The Bereaved.”

Now this isn’t a 100 percent doom effort from start to finish, “Serpentine” cranks up the sludge song construction and there’s plenty of that fuzzy stoner distortion in Phil and Ben’s guitars to be found throughout. It’s hard to really put a finger on these guys, it’s kind of like a trifecta of metal goodness: there’s something for everyone. You have your doom, your stoner riffs and sludge elements all in one.

Best track: "Torn Asunder"

(Originally written for Kvlt of Brewtality)